Looking for a Place to Happen

February 20th, 2013

If you Google the word “accident-prone,” you don’t get John’s picture as the top hit, even though its inclusion would solidify the site’s reputation as the top search engine.  Rather, you are directed to www.thefreedictionary.com/accident-prone where you find the following definition: Having or susceptible to having a greater than average number of accidents or mishaps.  With or without that site’s confirmation, by anyone’s definition, John is an accident looking for a place to happen most of the time.


Cheating Death, Part 3

January 25th, 2013

I recently announced to my co-workers that next year will be my last year as the director of the ESSDACK Learning Centers.  I made the news public well in advance because I think that reduces angst and facilitates the transition for the new person.  I have found such an awesome replacement that my main concern now is the short amount of time that will elapse before the staff is saying, “Terri who?”  As a result of my announcement, I have had numerous e-mails and phone calls wishing me well and expressing surprise and displeasure regarding my early retirement.  To those who were caught off guard by my decision, I simply reminded them of all John’s exploits that indicate he shouldn’t be home, or really anywhere, unsupervised.


Hillbilly Handyman

January 8th, 2013

John’s lack of handyman skills coupled with a strong tendency toward procrastination result in many small chores going undone for long periods of time (Getting Around to It).  Occasionally he will fix something in a relatively short amount of time which is what happened last week when the handle on the screen door broke.  In less than a week, he had made his repairs, but with John in charge, a speedy repair doesn’t necessarily mean he achieved the desired result.  In fact, you never know what to expect when you live with a Hillbilly Handyman.

John’s ability to create unique solutions to a variety of problems is well-known among family and friends.  He wanted a portable fire pit we could move to different locations, but he deemed the commercial chimineas he found over-priced and/or poorly constructed.  The Hillbilly Handyman solution was to cut the end off a discarded propane tank and weld legs to it that he made from abandoned oilfield pipes.  It is very functional if not entirely aesthetically pleasing, and we have used it quite a bit since he made it three years ago.


Expect the Unexpected

December 20th, 2012

I know I don’t need to keep saying this, but life with John is a constant adventure.  Whether he’s tipping over backhoes or boiling traps in a metal tub in the front yard, he never ceases to surprise me.  However, you might think the house in general and the bathroom specifically would be a relatively safe haven.  And you would be wrong.  With John around, you should ALWAYS expect the unexpected.

I don’t have data to support this belief, but I imagine that showering protocol is pretty much universal.  You turn on the water, wait for the desired water temperature, and engage whatever device forces the water from the faucet through the shower head.  When you are finished, you reverse the process by disengaging the shower head and turning off the water.  I’m flexible enough to accept those who shut the water off first and then disengage the shower head.  What I can’t abide is anyone who shuts off the water without changing the flow back through the faucet.


I Guess I Have a Thing for Darth Vader

December 11th, 2012

As our population ages, scientists and medical professionals constantly conduct research focused on the health problems that arise later in life.  This growing body of information has Baby Boomers better prepared for their golden years than any previous generation.  However, one serious condition that has received less than its share of attention is SHS—Snoring Husband Syndrome.  The sleeping partners who have to endure SHS often think they would do anything to make it stop, but that may not be entirely true.

According to the independent research I have conducted (in our office), SHS affects close to 100% of the male population over the age of 50.  However, the effects of SHS are more devastating for family members, particularly spouses, than the millions of men who suffer from the condition.  Men generally report bruising of the ribs and legs along with alienation of affection as the most common symptoms of SHS.  Sleep deprivation, bruised knuckles, sore feet, and latent aggression are the most common complaints from women.

John is not a stereotypical snorer.  He doesn’t rattle the windows, and his nasal reverberations don’t sound like a small engine running in the next room.  However, what he lacks in volume, he more than makes up for with variety.  At times he will exhibit what I call “the classic,” a rumble in the back of his throat caused by the vibration of soft tissue when he inhales.  Other times the noise is a simple puff of air that sounds like the word, “Poo.”  Another variation sounds like I am sleeping next to Darth Vader.  Regardless of the “tune” that he plays, most nights I end up sleep deprived.


Getting Around to It

October 16th, 2012

I have documented John’s dearth of handyman skills in previous blogs (Home Improvement, Parts I & II and Mr. Fix-It), and I am very understanding about his missing skill set.  What drives me to distraction is his lack of motivation to finish a job when he does possess the talent.  I have heard many men talk about the “Honey-Do” lists their wives create and how demanding they can be until the work is completed.  I have a “Honey-Maybe” list because there is never a guarantee the job will be completed in a timely manner.  I rarely nag John about anything on the list because experience has proven that this is a futile activity.  Instead, I wait patiently hoping that someday he will be true to his word when he says he will “get around to it.”


Dog Days of Summer, Part II

September 17th, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer continued a couple of weeks after Champ fell in the hole, but this time Susie, our 12-year-old rat terrier/Jack Russell terrier cross, was the unfortunate one.  Susie has had several rough experiences in her life including a broken leg and a ruptured uterus during the delivery of her six puppies, but the events of Sunday, August 12, 2012 made those injuries seem minor in comparison.  Sirius must have been shining brightly that night because her survival is nothing short of miraculous.  I’m just hoping the band Florence and the Machine is right, and the Dog Days Are Over!

That evening I let Tuffy in at 8:00 p.m., and I wasn’t overly concerned that Susie wasn’t with her as she often goes out to hunt after dark, especially if we have her on a diet as we did that week.  Around 10:00 pm. we heard the dogs barking ferociously as 4 of them ran past the house in a blur of legs and tails.  John walked to the door to listen, but they were completely quiet by the time he got outside.

We didn’t hear anything after that so I had no cause for concern as I headed to the door at 12:30 a.m. to put Champ out one last time.  I was happy to see Susie waiting patiently to come in for the night so I wouldn’t have to call or look for her.  I leaned over to pick her up and scold her for staying out so late, but my words were cut short by the horrific sight.  The skin on her back had been ripped loose leaving her flesh exposed from her shoulders almost to her hips.  I closed the door and ran quickly to the bathroom to grab some towels.  John had been in bed for a couple of hours so it took some time to get him awake enough to comprehend the gravity of the situation, but he followed me to the door and picked Susie up after I wrapped her in the towels.  He carried her to the kitchen, sat her gently on the floor, and unwrapped the towels to inspect the injuries more closely.


Dog Days of Summer

September 4th, 2012

The ancient Egyptians and Romans both referred to specific time periods in the months of July and August as “Dog Days” so that reference has been around for quite some time.  The hot, humid weather was thought to be caused by Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.  A quick search of Wikipedia turned up this interesting reference, “Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time ‘the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.’ according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.”  The reason I find this so interesting is that we have had more than our share of “Dog Days” this summer.  We avoided the diseases and burning fevers, but we certainly had plenty of hysterics and phrensies!


You’ve Been Warned

August 17th, 2012

I have a fairly high level of stress in my job as each new school year approaches.  I supervise 15 adult dropout recovery programs, or learning centers as we call them, across the state which translates loosely into being a building principal for 15 small high schools.  To be fair to high school principals out there, we don’t have a band, pep club, cheerleaders or athletic teams so I am exempt from many of their time consuming programs.  However, I have facilities to maintain, staff to hire, curriculum to oversee, and dozens and dozens of cooperating school district administrators who need to communicate with me from time to time.  I also have several other responsibilities that reach the peak of activity at the start of the school year.  So here’s a word of warning.  If I tell you I’m stressed out, believe me.  If I tell you to tread lightly when I’m stressed out, believe me.  Apparently, John is a non-believer, and that has made the last few weeks interesting to say the least.


The Dog Shouter

July 2nd, 2012

If the name Cesar Millan doesn’t sound familar, you undoubtedly recognize his pseudonym, The Dog Whisperer.  Cesar’s popular television show of the same name and numerous books have made him one of the best known dog trainers in the world.  He says he rehabilitates dogs and trains people, and his natural affinity for dogs and uncanny success with the most difficult canine problems established his reputation almost a decade ago.  I have followed Cesar’s career with interest because I live with a dog whisperer.  Well, more accurately stated, I live with a dog shouter.  John also has a unique ability with dogs, and his expertise is one of the reasons he acquired the new puppies to train.  Even though he doesn’t have the same level of celebrity as Mr. Millan, he has had some remarkable success with the dogs he has trained.  Their philosophies about dog training are similar, but their techniques are not the same at all!

The Dog Whisperer makes a unique clicking sound when he is disciplining a dog.  John uses a high decibel yell that makes small children cry and most dogs lose control of their bladders.  I have seen him break up dog fights just by shouting at the attacker.  On more than one occasion, a misbehaving dog has headed to his pen rather than try to figure out what offending behavior has incurred John’s displeasure.  He often laments the fact that I am immune to this effect!

Mr. Millan uses a leash to control the dogs he works with and establish his dominance as the leader of the pack.  John is much more likely to wrestle his dogs to the ground and assert his dominance by looking into their eyes and growling.  Some days I think I should sell tickets, but the performances are unscheduled and impossible to predict.


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